You cannot know what Luke 14 means unless you have lived it out.
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
I have pondered over the phrase, “hate… even his own life”, and it’s true for me. As a child, I was too young to understand the implications and the motivations behind destructive behavior. Now, having paid thousands of dollars to healing ministries to attend their seminars and buy their materials, having flown thousands of miles to learn, even staying six months in the UK in the process, I have a much better understanding. And I got a lot of healing along the way.
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
I contrast this with Matthew 11:
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I have learned over the years to release my burdens to the Lord and to receive His rest. That cross, just as it was for Jesus, was something that was put on me by others. At first, we trudge after Jesus with it. But as time goes on, as we mature in Christ, as we learn to transfer the weight of the cross to Him, it shrinks. And it becomes something that is light and easy — only what Jesus wants you to carry.
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
Following Jesus is a life-long journey with many ups and downs and detours. Many give up along the way and make peace with the enemy because in their mind, it costs too much to follow Jesus — whether it’s time, money or more likely, having to risk trusting someone, a minister you don’t really know with a fragile piece of your heart.
It takes courage to risk; I have been misunderstood, judged and talked down to by a minister who failed to see their own issues. But I picked myself up and went on. Why? Because I know that I too can make mistakes, and because I want to be forgiven, I forgive them too. And I moved on to others.
And in the process, I have come to know people that are on fire for the Lord, people I wouldn’t have imagined meeting in my wildest dreams — not perfect, but who are on a journey and are willing to face their own issues and apologise when they’re in the wrong — and who forgive me too, when I inadvertently hurt them. And with sincere apologies, the relationship is restored as before. That’s how healed they are.
33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
We have to give up everything we’re holding — our pride, suspicions, cynicism, unbelief, our fears, our money, our past bad experiences — and start taking risks.
I have found that when I risk something for Jesus, do something that I know is helpful for me even though I’m afraid to try it, the rewards are great. Words fail to describe it.